Stop blaming Marion Cotillard for Brangelina’s breakup — it’s not her fault

On Tuesday, breaking hearts and the internet alike, Brangelina announced their divorce. Considering their 12 years and six children together, you’d think society would treat Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s split with just a little more respect and maturity than it does every other Hollywood breakup, but of course, you’d be wrong. Tabloids like Page Six are already pushing their usual, anonymously sourced “other woman” stories, and their victim this time around is French actress and co-star in Pitt’s upcoming movie Allied, Marion Cotillard. In the midst of frenzied internet memes screaming “karma” and wild debate about something that really isn’t our business, anyway, it’s important to get one thing straight: blaming Cotillard for breaking up Brangelina isn’t just ignorant, it’s undeniably sexist.

For one thing, Page Six’s now widely-cited report on Jolie hiring a private investigator and discovering Pitt and Cotillard’s supposed “affair,” could be possible — frankly, isn’t everything? — but considering how widely refuted it is, I’d think twice about trusting all of these anonymous sources. But obviously, the apparent similarities between the start of Pitt and Jolie’s and the very alleged start of Pitt and Cotillard’s relationship already have just about all of the annoying fucks on Twitter crying karma.

Pitt and Jolie met working as co-stars in a spy movie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), themselves; Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston at the time (hence all of the memes related to her dominating your newsfeeds). While it remains hotly debated whether or not Pitt and Jolie began their relationship while Pitt and Aniston were still married, of course, society took the “other woman” narrative and ran with it — just like it’s doing right now. It’s always been not only the easiest, laziest, and most simplified explanation for every breakup, but ultimately, the best way to absolve men of blame for any choices they may or may not have made and pin all of it on that one goddamn homewrecker.

The most the couple has divulged about their split comes from a generic statement from Jolie’s lawyer Robert Offer: “This decision was made for the health of the family. She will not be commenting, and asks that the family be given its privacy at this time.”

Similarly, Geyer Kosinski, Jolie’s longtime manager, told E! News in a statement Tuesday: “Angelina will always do what’s in the best interest of taking care of her family. She appreciates everyone’s understanding of their need for privacy at this time.”

I don’t imagine that even if Jolie did hire a private investigator and find out her husband was, indeed, having an affair with his co-star, she would bring this up outright, but “for the health of the family” could refer to really any number of things.

That being said, there exists no clear evidence that neither Jolie and Pitt nor Cotillard and Pitt had affairs, nor any logical reason to blame Jolie as the direct cause of Pitt and Aniston’s divorce, as there is no logical reason to blame Cotillard, today. Hollywood breakups are really just like all breakups: even if there is another person involved, breakups are always due to a variety of problems in the relationship itself.

And alas, tying back to that whole sexism thing, even if (and it’s a huge if) Cotillard and Pitt were found to be having an affair, it’s the 21st century and “the other woman” shouldn’t be solely held responsible for what two grown adults have equally chosen to do, together.

As for how any of this relates even a little to “karma,” there was no proof Jolie and Pitt began their affair during his marriage, nor any reason to believe it was the sole cause for his divorce from Aniston. Today, there’s no real evidence Pitt and Cotillard are anything but co-stars. I can understand the human inclination toward a juicy, scandalous, dramatically ironic story, but the two were together for 12 years and taught a whole generation about love. Let’s give everyone involved (or not involved) a break and refrain from jumping to wild, sexist conclusions, shall we?